USC will not provide tuition refunds for the spring semester and upcoming summer sessions, which will be held online, the university announced via email Tuesday afternoon.
“We have no plans to provide pro-rated tuition refunds for the current Spring 2020 semester or our upcoming Summer sessions,” Provost Charles Zukoski said in the email to the USC community. “While this is not the semester any of us envisioned, we are continuing to provide a high-quality education, ensure academic progress towards degree, and offer a robust learning environment.”
An online petition created in March that asked USC to provide partial tuition reimbursement has gathered over 7,000 signatures. The petition stated that moving class online due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led "a notable reduction in education and instructional quality.” It added that the university should proportionally or partially refund tuition because of reduced networking opportunities and cancelled campus events.
“Whether our instructors present their classes in person or online, they bring the same expertise, depth of knowledge, and commitment to their teaching, and students continue to earn credits toward a USC degree,” Zukoski defended the university’s decision in his email. “Additionally, we have added, and are building, new programs inside and outside the virtual classroom to make the online experience even stronger.”
On April 10, USC shared details about proportional refunds of room and meal plan payments to students who left university housing amid COVID-19.
In Tuesday's email, USC also announced that the second summer session, from July 1 to August 11, will be held online along with all related in-person activities.
The grading policy for the summer sessions will revert back to the regular policy applied before the Spring 2020 semester.
“That is, students can elect the grade options normally available for the course and follow the regular deadlines to make their elections,” the email reads.
Tuition for the summer 2020 session at USC is currently listed as $1,928, per unit.
Last month, USC President Carol Folt and Zukoski announced in an email that students will have until May 27, a week after official class grades are posted, to choose for a letter grade, a Pass or a No Record.
Zukoski said Tuesday that the university is suspending the dean's list, an honor for students who earn a GPA of 3.5 or higher, in order to “to maintain [its] fairness and integrity.”
USC has not made decisions on their plans for Fall 2020 yet.
“We are deep into planning for a safe and appropriate return to campus of faculty, staff, research, graduate and professional, and undergraduate programs,” Zukoski wrote. “We will provide additional details on what we are calling “Project Restart” in the coming weeks and hope to announce our plans for the fall semester in the next two months, with the understanding that circumstances remain in flux.”
A university spokesperson told Annenberg Media that USC has not made decisions on the fall semester’s tuition.
The U.S. Department of Education specified in its April 21 guidelines that only students who are eligible for federal financial aids can apply for the coronavirus relief fund that the federal government allocated to universities.
“We are disappointed that our international and DACA students, as well as those enrolled in online-only programs, are not covered under the CARES Act. We are working to assist those students in myriad ways, including through the USC Student Basic Needs fund,” Zukoski said.